As determined by the intracutaneous test in guinea pigs, diphtheria toxin is not altered in the presence of cardiac tissue obtained from the fetal or from the adult heart of the guinea pig.
Tissue cultures were apparently uninjured by the presence of the toxin in the dilutions used in these experiments, and, when washed with embryo extract after removal of the diluted toxin, continued to grow.
Embryonic guinea pig cardiac muscle tissue growing in cultures in vitro possesses the power of neutralizing, binding, or destroying diphtheria toxin so that it is no longer toxic for normal guinea pigs.
Such neutralization takes place through the intervention of growing tissue and is a property which is lacking in similar surviving tissue not in a state of cultivation.
Thus, it appears that the living, growing cells of the tissues neutralize or destroy limited quantities of toxin; only when the quantity of toxin exceeds a certain limit is its action injurious.